Officers

President

Richard Brainerd
Retired HR Consultant, Mahtomedi City Councilperson

Bio

Richard Brainerd served as a Human Resources Director, Consultant and Educator where he dedicated his talents for over 40 years.

When Richard is not traveling, cycling and birdwatching with his wife Mary, he is serving on many community boards, as a City Council member and spending time with his grandchildren.

Richard holds a degree in Business & Economics from the University of Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership Greensboro, NC.

Richard believes that education is essential to the wellbeing of our society, and that Century College is committed to transforming lives through an innovative, and compassionate approach to education.

Secretary

Nora Slawik
President, Slawik Strategies, LLC

Bio

Nora Slawik is the President of Slawik Strategies, LLC, a boutique consulting firm focusing on public policy and community engagement. She leverages her extensive government experience as an east metro seven term legislator, twice elected mayor of Maplewood and appointee of Governor Walz as the Chair of the Metropolitan Council.

Nora has an MPA from the Humphrey School, University of Minnesota. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and adult children, boating and fishing up north, walking around the lakes and biking.

Nora’s son attended Century College. She values the excellent faculty and strong core classes he completed to transfer to Augsburg College where he finished his degree to become a successful special education teacher.

 

Vice President

Melissa Martyr Wagner
Director of Operations, NewStudio Architecture

Bio

Melissa Martyr-Wagner’s education includes a BA in Journalism, Advertising and an MS in Higher Education. In 2011, after having worked for Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota, she and her husband, Sean Wagner, left their jobs to launch together NewStudio Architecture, where she is the Director of Operations. Free time?  Not only does she work with her husband, she sails with him on White Bear Lake. She also enjoy waves and water most anywhere from the Midwest to the Caribbean, as well as yoga and barre classes…and, she’s trying to get better at tennis and cross-country skiing. Melissa is one of the founders of Lakes International Language Academy (LILA), K-12 in Forest Lake. She went on to serve, as well as lead, this highly successful charter school’s board of directors, and later its foundation.  Founded in 2014 and starting with 174 students, the school’s enrollment is now over 1,300 in updated facilities on two campuses in Forest Lake.

She loves supporting her community – and organizations like the White Bear Center for the Arts, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Solid Ground,  White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, and, of course, Century College.

“Century College truly is one of the most remarkable assets of our community and I’m very proud to serve on its Foundation. I am always happy to proselytize with friends, or when I’m networking, of the many successes, stories, and results of Century,” explains Melissa, “My son is just finishing in the paramedic program-so I learn a lot about his experience. And, when I’m on campus I always run into high school and college students I know from the White Bear Lake and Forest Lake schools. I love, as a Foundation member, knowing about the data-informed results and the community impact of Century– but, it is the students who move me. Knowing about their academic stories and journeys always moves me to want to do more.”

Treasurer

Russ Fleming
Firm Director, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Directors

Kim Bowman
Director of Major and Planned Giving, Way to Grow

Bio

Kim Bowman serves as Director of Major and Planned Giving for Way to Grow, an early childhood education organization in Minneapolis. She has 25 years of experience in major gift development, planned giving, endowment building and capital campaigns. Outside of work, Kim loves spending time at the cabin and singing with Magnum Chorum, a Twin Cities choral ensemble. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MBA with a finance concentration. Kim believes education is the key that unlocks each person’s potential to learn, grow, thrive and contribute to the community.

Michele Jersak
Counselor, Century College

Bio

Michele Jersak is a counselor at Century College and has over 20 years of experience working within the Minnesota State system. She is a Communication Across Barriers-Certified Poverty Coach and Gold Star Speaker which focuses on better serving students who live in the crisis of poverty. She earned her Associate’s Degree at North Hennepin Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She has also received her yoga instructor certification and enjoys helping students use mindfulness strategies to make the most of their college and life experiences. She loves how Century College can help students reach the futures they want for themselves.

Rick Lucio
CEO, Hallberg Engineering

Bio

Rick Lucio serves as CEO and Co-Owner of Hallberg Engineering Inc. in White Bear Lake, MN. He has more than 28 years of experience in Mechanical Engineering and 17 years as a Professional Engineer. When Rick is not working or spending time with his wife Kim and two children (Samantha and Tony), he is busy serving on the White Bear Area Chamber Board of Directors, golfing in charity events and bowling. Rick holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&I University. Rick firmly believes that getting a strong education is the greatest investment a student can make for their future.

Mary MacCarthy
Venture Center Program Manager, University of Minnesota

Bio

Mary MacCarthy is a Venture Center Program Manager in the University of Minnesota Technology Commercialization. She facilitates healthcare company launches based on Regent-owned intellectual property and manages the university's seed fund. I am able to serve as a connection for Century College to the University of Minnesota system. Besides supporting her daughters' advanced education, she is renovating her house and enjoys attending art events. Mary holds a BA degree from UW-Eau Claire in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas. Mary believes "education provided me with context, critical thinking skills, confidence and credentials to pursue all my dreams and support my passions."

Steve Ritt
Vice President, North Star Banks

Bio

Steve Ritt is the Chief Financial Officer and Co Chief Executive Officer of North Star Bank, which is a fourth generation family owned and operated community bank located in White Bear Lake and Roseville, MN.

Ritt, 46, as Co-CEO is responsible for providing an acceptable return for its shareholders while also protecting its depositor’s interests, along with overseeing a management team and developing departmental objectives and corporate goals. As CFO he is part of the asset liability management team and is responsible for the financial, capital, and strategic planning of the Bank, along with investing the excess liquidity of the institution.

Ritt has extensive operational and financial experience within North Star Bank and has served on its Board of directors since 2004, and currently serves on all 12 Board appointed committees. He is active in the commercial lending space, a position he has held since 2002, and enjoys helping businesses start, grow, and prosper.

He is an active supporter in the community and serves as Board Member for the Ritt Family Foundation, the Century College Foundation, Mahtomedi Area Educational Foundation, Lakeshore Players, and serves on the finance committee of the Greater White Bear Lake Area Community Foundation.

Barbara Sheldon
Relationship Manager, Alerus Financial

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Michele Whyle
Vice President of Marketing and Client Engagement, Spades, SBC

Bio

Both a scientist and business leader, Michele has spent 25 years leading global teams for some of the world’s premier manufacturing companies. Her career has taken her from working night shift in manufacturing plants, to developing game-changing new products, to managing multi-billion dollar brands.  The eternal optimist, what others may see as roadblocks Michele sees as opportunities for creative thinking.

Michele is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Client Engagement at Spades™, SBC. Michele recognizes climate change as the most pressing of societal challenges. Through her work across sectors she has seen the devastating effects of extreme weather events and it’s impact to human life first hand. She sees Spades™, SBC as uniquely positioned to advance the most readily available climate change mitigation action – tree-planting at massive scale.

Michele is a life-long learner and holds degrees in chemical engineering, business administration, sustainability and international development. A dedicated advocate for the protection of children and gender equality, she founded the Twin Cities Executive Sleepout for Homeless Youth and also contributes time to global women’s rights organizations.  Michele enjoys yoga, biking, skiing, reading and spending time with her parents, John and Eunice Novick, husband of 25 years, Chris, her five children, Haylee, Carson, Decker, Jacoby and Sawyer and granddaughter, Harlee.

Michele sees education as a the door opener to the world and Century College provides a welcoming environment and wide variety of classes to meet the needs of all. Michele understands the need for a community of support to help lift people up, engage in their dreams and that is what Century College does better than any organization in the area.

Mike Bromelkamp
Retired

Bio

Mike was a Principal in the Roseville office of Olsen Thielen CPAs and leader of its Business Valuation and Forensics Group. He has more than 43 years of experience in accounting, auditing, technology, business valuation, forensics, litigation support, expert testimony, and consulting. Mike joined the Firm in 1992 and retired in 2018. His experience included managing corporate finance, accounting and internal audit functions for national public and private companies.Mike worked with small and mid-sized companies and non-profit organizations to maximize their financial and operating results. Mike is always dong something.  When he is working, he is playing.  When he is playing, he is working.  Mike enjoys volunteer activities, spending time with his grandchildren, traveling, doing handyman projects and honey-do lists, Gopher athletics, and political activities. Mike has a BA in Accounting from St. John's University, MBA in Information Systems from Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. Mike "values life long learning and associating with people who are much smarter that me."

Laura Keithahn
Vice President Hospital Operations, St. John’s Hospital

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Greg Mueller
H.B. Fuller, Director Global SAP

Bio

Greg Mueller serves as the Director, Global SAP at H.B. Fuller. In his role, he is responsible for leading the global SAP rollout program for the Company.  When Greg is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family.  He is also enjoys hunting and fishing.  Greg holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a MBA from the University of Portland (OR).  Greg strongly believes that an education is the bridge to a successful future.

Rebecca Otto
State Auditor ’17-’19, State of Minnesota

Bio

Rebecca Otto is an accomplished executive in both the public and private sectors. She found her way to Minnesota as a teen on a trip to the BWCA, and the BWCA is why she chose Minnesota as her home, and she still enjoys annual trips to the wilderness area. She received a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College. Otto cofounded a contracting company in the mid 1980s with her husband, which they built up to 50 employees and later sold. She wanted to give back to the community and obtained a Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota and taught 7th grade Life Science in the Mounds View Schools in the 1990’s.

Steve Schad
Founder, Optima Advisory

Bio

Steve Schad is the founder of Optima Advisory, a firm that places part-time contract HR executives and administrative support in small and mid-sized companies. He has more than two decades of HR executive and organizational development experience working across sectors and industries to help organizations get better results through people. Steve has dealt directly with many workforce issues that are or can be solved through the community and technical college system and joined the board to help advance the mission of Century College and the Foundation in serving our communities and businesses. He received a Bachelor’s Degree, majoring in political science and Russian area studies, from the University of Minnesota. As a small business owner, he doesn’t have a lot of spare time, but when he does, he loves travelling and spending time with his wife of 24 years and two teenage daughters.

Tracy Uttley
Vice President of Business Development and Director of Sales and Marketing, Pineview Hotel Management and Consulting

Bio

Tracy Uttley is the Vice President of Business Development and Director of Sales and Marketing at Pineview Hotel Management and Consulting. Having grown up in the hotel and restaurant business, she is skilled at sales and marketing, communication, and public relations. Tracy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She enjoys spending time with her three sons and her new daughter-in-law and cross country skiing, yoga, and writing. She values Education because it opens our minds and our hearts to infinite possibilities.

2019-20 Board of Directors Meeting Schedule

Meeting times (unless otherwise noted): 8:30 - 10:30 am

  • Thursday, September 26, E2555
  • Thursday, November 21, E2555
  • Thursday, January 23, E2555
  • Thursday, March 5, Planning Retreat: 8:00am - 1:00pm, TBD
  • Wednesday, June 17, E2555

2019-20 Finance & Executive Committee Meeting Schedule

Meeting times: Finance 8 am, Executive 9 am

  • Thursday, August 22
  • Thursday, November 14
  • Thursday, December 12
  • Thursday, February 20
  • Thursday, May 7